Bowen bewildered as Sexton seals remarkable last-gasp win

Edmund Sexton had an astonishing last shot win over Éamon Bowen in the Mick Barry Cup at Ballincurrig, with Raymond Ryan off the pace in third.

After Sexton’s last throw, a win for Bowen looked a formality. His previous bowl missed the line by a metre and beating Sexton’s last tip looked very manageable. He played and beat it comfortably, but he was called for over-stepping his tip and when he directed his second attempt to the left, he missed Sexton’s tip.

There was little between the three first tips. Ryan was too far left with his second and the other two got good bowls towards Moore’s gate. Ryan recovered with a good third, but Bowen went clear on his own with a brilliant bowl to the green. Sexton and Ryan just beat that in four.

Bowen was past the no-play line in five, with the other two missing in six. He hit a bad patch to O’Riordan’s though and now he had a bowl on Ryan and just under a bowl on Sexton. He beat a huge bowl from Sexton to full light at the top of the long straight. Sexton followed up with another good bowl to the big corner he was back in contention at the foot of the short straight with Ryan still a bowl behind.

Bowen then beat Sexton with a good bowl to the top of the short straight to hold 20m odds. He increased his lead by getting the better of the exchanges to the sycamores too. Sexton’s next was too low on the left and when Bowen got a great bowl to peeping light at the last it looked over.

Sexton dug deep, however, with a good bowl onto the finishing straight. Bowen countered with an equally good one to within a metre of the line. Sexton’s last bowl went to the green, but it looked well within Bowen’s grasp. Sport is a cruel mistress though and Bowen ended with nothing after an otherwise top class performance.

Thomas Mackle beat Aidan Murphy in the last shot of an Unlimited Bowling fundraiser at Madden, Co. Armagh on Friday evening. A mistake with his second last proved costly for Murphy.

Mackle started well and won each of the first five shots. Murphy was lucky to rub to sight at Johnny’s corner with his sixth, but Mackle beat it. They both missed the pipe corner in two more, with Mackle still leading. Murphy made sight with his next. Mackle lofted in an attempt to make double sight, but his bowl fell dead inside the fence. His second loft was perfect and kept him level.

They were still level after nine to the school and they reached the chapel in two more. Murphy gained a good advantage when he made clear sight with his next past the houses and Mackle was not out fully. Mackle recovered with a great bowl that missed the line by 40m. Murphy now needed to beat the line for victory, but he misplayed his bowl to the right and missed Mackle’s tip by 60m. Mackle won the last exchange comfortably, despite a good bowl from Murphy.

Eddie Carr’s 11th hour withdrawal from Sunday’s senior final willdominate discussion of the 2013 All-Ireland series in Armagh. It was a major disappointment for the host Port Mór club and the local community that produced a pristine venue and back-up services for supporters that has rarely been matched. The final is now scheduled for August 25, at a yet to be announced Munster venue.

Bowling, necessarily, has a rigid scheduling system to ensure championships are completed in time, as Gary Daly discovered when he fulfilled three Munster senior engagements with a serious injury. Normally a postponement is almost impossible, so there are concerns that the Carr case has now set a precedent others will seek to follow.

It might have been Hamlet without the Prince, but there was plenty of top class bowling in the other six finals.

In the Junior B, Malachy Lappin looked to be taking an ever-tighter grip after he went a bowl clear of Kieran Murphy with his second shot. Despite missing the rub at the first bridge by a few centimetres and almost unbelievably hitting a tree branch later, Murphy fought back and led the closing stages. It all unravelled though when he missed the line with his last and Lappin pulled it out of the fire.

Chris O’Donovan’s win in the veteran final against Joe Shortt was perfection. After opening with the longest first shot of the weekend, he bowled with such class that Shortt had no way back. Katie Sexton and Darragh Kiely underlined the underage quality in Munster. Ulster’s David Devlin is a future star too, but just one poor shot choice separated him from Michael Faulkner.

Denise Daly-Galvin brought a rare All-Ireland title to Tyrone when, on her third attempt, she won the women’s intermediate final. Being the first out on a tricky road didn’t help Megan Collins, but the European youth champion can look forward to a bright future.

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